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Wine and TV matching

The great cultural tradition of the classical wine producing nations of Europe is to consume wine at table, with food. Consequently, no respectable wine magazine would be complete without a section on wine and food matching, a subject that enables journalists to eat and drink very well for free as long as theyíre prepared to waffle a bit about how the different flavours complemented each other or clashed horribly. In fact, more nonsense has probably been written about wine and food matching than almost any other topic in wineóand thatís saying something.

But I digress. These days Iíd hazard a guess that most wine isnít consumed at table. Itís drunk in front of the telly. So I figured a thoughtful piece on wine and TV matching would probably be more relevant to most readers than yet more wine and food matching guidance. I hope you find the following guide of some use. Your own suggestions are welcomed!

Newsnight
BBC2ís Newsnight is a fairly serious, thought-provoking dissection of the days leading news stories. Itís often an absorbing program; itís a shame no one watches it. 
Wine match: something fairly high-brow and relatively obscure, which doesnít get as much attention as it deserves. A precisely focused Riesling from the Mosel Saar Ruwer would do: Maximin GrŁnhaus Abtsberg Kabinett Riesling 2002

Hustle
I really enjoyed this classy, clever, stylish series that was recently shown by the BBC. Letís hope it gets a second airing. 
Wine match: Something sophisticated, but just a little flash and ostentatious, demonstrating assured elegance. A good, slightly flashy Champagne Ė perhaps the Bollinger NV?

Midsomer Murders
Some people like this stuff. Despite the fact that Midsomer must have a higher per capita murder rate than downtown Detroit (and consequently a rapidly dwindling population), this is a saccharin sweet, utterly harmless program that wonít tax your brain cells.
Wine match: If you fancy something stronger than a cup of weak tea (the ideal match), it would have to be an inoffensive, edge-free branded wine, such as Jacobs Creek Chardonnay. 

Inspector Morse
If you concentrate hard enough, you might just be able to follow the plot as the nationís best-loved bad-tempered, opera-loving, vintage-Jaguar-driving bachelor solves complicated, drawn out murder cases.
Wine match: something sophisticated, intellectual and above all, solidly traditional. 1982 Leoville Barton, St Julien

Black Books
C4ís offbeat comedy marries three unique comic talents to great effect. Itís also very wine focused Ė they drink a fantastic quantity of the stuff.
Wine match: quantity is the key here, so Iíd suggest two bottles of St Hallett Gamekeepers Reserve Red 2003.

Ground Force
One of TVís legion of appalling reality shows. Iíd be devastated if the Groundforce team decided to come round and renovate my garden. It used to be fronted by the suavely annoying Alan Titchmarsh; now heís left and itís even worse Ė weíre left with the dreadful Charlie Dimmock (who looks uncomfortable in front of the camera) and her monosyllabic building mate Tommy. At least Titchmarsh had the common touch and was a professional presenter. 
Wine match: this has to be the one for Blue Nun 2002. There are lots of Blue Nun moments in Groundforce, folks.

Brideshead Revisited
OK, some of you wonít remember it, but this classic multipart adaptation of Evelyn Waughís novel remains one of the great all-time pieces of television. Thereís a wine link, too: in one episode Sebastian and Charles set about the ancestral Brideshead wine cellar. They donít make them like that any more.
Wine match: something aristocratic, old and worthy of a place in a country house cellar. Ch‚teau Latour 1961, anyone?

The Bill
It may not be as well written as it used to be, but Sunhillís finest are an enduring fixture of ITVís weeknight programming. The favoured tipple at Sunhill isnít wine, but instead the bottle of scotch that every officer above the rank of sergeant seems to keep in their desk drawer, a slosh of which is usually drunk out of plastic cups or mugs when times are tough or a difficult case has been cracked.
Wine match: with the Billís fast-paced story line youíll want something immediate, full throttle and a bit rough at the edges Ė like Fairviewís Goats du Roam Red 2002.

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